All terms

What is an Abbreviation?

A shortened form of a word or phrase.

Abbreviation: Cut the Word!

An abbreviation is a shortened form of a word or phrase.

Much like the way we use acronyms today, abbreviations were used throughout history to save time, space, and ink. Though the practice is now common throughout the English language, the word 'abbreviation' ultimately derives from the Latin phrase brevis (short) and ad (to).

When using abbreviations, note that they always end in a period; it is the mark that symbolizes the word has been cut short. We also use certain abbreviations, such as Mr., Mrs., and Dr. as titles to refer to others in writing.

Abracadabra, Alakazam, Abridged!
Abbreviations in Literature
Mr. Kurtz in Heart of Darkness

In Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, Mr. Kurtz, a mysterious figure who has traveled deep into the African jungle, is referred to only as 'Mr.' throughout the story, adding to his enigmatic character.

Personal Pronouns in Dubliners

In James Joyce's Dubliners, common words and phrases are abbreviated to reflect the language patterns of Dublin's working-class culture, such as the use of 'me' instead of 'my.' For example, the story Two Gallants has a line, 'Is it me you call funny!'